By Mary Plumb | August 3, 2009
Food activists and writers Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser appear in the film Food, Inc., which is about the politics of food. (1) It essentially describes how a few corporations “own” the food industry and are controlling how most Americans eat. I’m looking at sunrise charts for the two gentlemen, as no birth times are known.
Michael Pollan was born on February 6, 1955 in Long Island, N.Y. (2). He is a writer, food activist and professor of journalism at U.C. Berkeley. He was born on a full moon day, with the Sun at 17° Aquarius, the Moon in Leo and Saturn squaring the lights from 21° Scorpio.
Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser was born on August 17, 1959 in New York, N.Y. (3) He became famous for his book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2000). Schlosser was born the day before the full moon; the Sun is at 24° Leo, the Moon in Aquarius (for the whole day) and Jupiter squaring both from 23° Scorpio.
Each has the Sun and Moon in fixed signs, powered by a square from a planet in Scorpio. Having relentless focus, being drawn to whatever is hidden, and the instinct to uncover by any means possible are Scorpio’s natural gestures. When combined with the Sun, the individual creative drive to distinguish the self carries the deeply reformist agenda inherent in the sign that is impelled to bring change from the inside out.
Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation — and a film of the same name (in 2006) — exposed the dark side of the meat industry. His book brings together not only the way animals are treated, but also the workers in the industry and the impact on the environment. Eric Schlosser has natal Ceres at 21° Scorpio conjunct Jupiter at 23° Scorpio. Ceres is connected to the land; food production and safety, unions and worker’s rights, and preserving the environment and resources are all part of her symbolism. Jupiter conjunct Ceres brings those concerns into the larger social sphere, and Scorpio, of course, can handle complexity and is the muckraking journalist extraordinaire.
Michael Pollan also has Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and grain, conjunct a benefic in the natal chart — Venus is conjunct Ceres, conjunct the North Node, all in early Capricorn. Here’s a fellow whose love for grain and appreciation of growing food is directly tied to the life path. Venus with Ceres in an earth sign also suggests a strong physicality and sensuality. His first best seller, about human desire and the evolution of plants, was The Botany of Desire (2001).
Venus in Capricorn is not known for its romantic excesses. The essence of his newest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008), is in its opening sentences: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (He knows that the average American diet now is so heavily processed and refined that it cannot qualify as “food.” His message is practical: eat the way our grandparents or great grandparents ate.)
He also has a long article on the politics and pleasures of cooking in the current New York Times magazine.
Since (I know I’m not the only one) I do get weary of considering transiting Pluto’s connection to the financial crisis, I am happy to find Michael Pollan with planets in this line-up — a positive Pluto transformation story. Transiting Pluto was exactly on Pollan’s natal Venus (which, at 0° Capricorn, is on the Aries Point of public recognition) throughout 2008. Throughout 2009 Pluto conjuncts natal Ceres at 2°07′ Capricorn and then makes five exact hits to the North Node between 2010 and 2011. This is a horoscope of a person who continues strongly on a path of empowerment and cultural relevance for these next few years. (That’s my hope, anyway.)
Pollan’s personal success story is also shown in his progressed chart. Progressed Jupiter is applying to trine Saturn, which is exact in March 2010. Progressed Mercury trines Uranus then as well.
Saturn and Jupiter formed a progressed trine in 1966. Since Saturn turned retrograde by progression in 1977, and Jupiter went direct in 1993, they come to another trine in March. This suggests good instincts and success in business and worldly matters, and productive and constructive outlets for social concerns.
On the local level, many gardeners and farmers have a prominent Ceres in the natal chart. I know someone who changed her life’s work to become an organic farmer when Ceres was conjunct the Moon in the progressed chart. I confess to natal Ceres in Sagittarius. I naturally love the concept of gardening, but as someone near and dear to me noticed a while ago, I don’t like to get my hands dirty. But, with Pluto’s encouragement, I’ve loved being in the garden this year.